I just spent an hour this morning with my friend Jo Randerson and family, once again making me realise how much I miss my Wellington life and the more regular contact with those friends living similar lives (nothing against my lovely Christchurch friends of course!). Huge congratulations are in order to Jo who just picked up one of the Arts Foundation's New Generation awards - a great honour and a great financial boost. Very well deserved - the multi-talented Jo is tireless in her commitment to the creative life.
We talked about the usual things, babies and writing and the coincidence thereof, and I told her what things were looking like for the next year. My fellowship finishes at the end of March (to be taken over by Victor Rodger - more congratulations!) and then I'll be on my own financially with what I hope will be at the very least a completed draft of the new novel. I will also be back to more child-minding as my husband will be studying full-time. I'm both looking forward to next year and dreading it. If I can be disciplined, I hope to both finish my novel and spend some quality family time. Not necessarily a 'conducive' situation but we'll see. The thing is, I have no fewer than five projects lined up after this novel: a screenplay, a children's novel, another adult novel and two non-fiction projects, as well as a project in my capacity as my father's literary executor. This is all very exciting for me - I can think of nothing worse than getting to the end of a novel and not knowing what the hell I'm going to work on next. Here's the scary thing: I do worry how I am going to support myself and my family. These projects are all going to keep me very busy and creatively fulfilled but they are not things that anyone will be rushing to my door to pay me for, at least not until they are finished. Chances are, I will probably have to take on some kind of paid work which will push all of these things further and further back.
I am not complaining - I have had my fair share of help in my writing. I guess I just want to write down some thoughts about the uncertainty in life when one chooses a creative, independent path. There are certainly sacrifices to make - hell, I wouldn't even call them sacrifices, that is way too strong a word. Compromise is probably better. And I wouldn't swap this life for all the high-flying , highly-paid jobs in the world (been down that path; it did not make me happy). What I'm leading to is to thank goodness for organisations such as Creative New Zealand, and the Arts Foundation who recognise the importance of the arts and who get together with patrons - those with both money and kind hearts - and make it possible for people like me, and like Jo, and the 94 people who have received Arts Foundation awards, and the countless others who have received CNZ grants, to keep doing what we do so that others (hopefully) may enjoy it too.
This started out as a post about all the exciting projects I have lined up and it ended up being about gratitude. Go figure.